How Speech Therapy Can Improve an Autistic Child’s Life
Getting speech therapy in Dubai is the preferred means to help an autistic child’s communication skills. This directly impacts their quality of life. If you meet one autistic child, it means that you have only met one. Every child is different. Each child with a diagnosis is completely different and has different communicative needs and strengths.
So, no one plan of action can be followed for treating every autistic child. Let’s delve a bit deeper and see the implications of speech therapy on an autistic child’s life.
Best Time to Start Speech Therapy
Signs of autism spectrum disorder become clear before age 3. So, the earlier you start the therapy, the better for your child. Also, any language delays can be recognized as early as 18 months of age. In some cases, autism can be identified in children when they are 10-12 months of age. Starting as early as you can translate into greater impact.
Benefits of Speech Therapy
Speech therapy helps in boosting overall communication. This allows autistic children and even adults to boost their ability to form relationships and function efficiently in their day-to-day life. Goals of speech therapy include:
- Ability to articulate words well
- Ability to communicate both verbally and nonverbally well
- Ability to understand verbal and nonverbal communication while understanding the intentions as well
- Ability to communicate without prompting
- Developing conversational skills
- Knowing the right time to say something
- Enjoying the communication, playing, and interacting
- Exchanging ideas
Methods Used in Speech Therapy
Here are the methods that help with speech therapy:
Picture Boards with Words
The best way to communicate with children with autism in Dubai is through visual support. This type of exercise gives structure to words. There are different ways to use visual support to boost communication with autistic children.
Children can learn photos and symbols with the use of picture boards and then associate words with them. The child points to an object on the picture board to communicate and tell what they need. This boosts their social skills and encourages them to ask for whatever they need and teach them how they can improvise if what they need is not on the board.
Picture Exchange Communication System – PECS
In the PECS, children are taught to approach another person and then exchange a picture of the desired item. For example, a parent can take a picture of a glass of water and give water to the child.
While teaching the child, make sure that you articulate them more clearly than normal. The clearer you are while speaking, the better their understanding. Also, they retain and imitate it a lot better. When you are teaching new sounds to your children, see that you provide them with different variants.
Massaging Facial Muscles for Better Speech
One can reduce stress and relax by massaging any muscle. As they familiarize themselves with physical touch, autistic children can get relaxed by massaging facial muscles. The touch increases attention span and lessens withdrawal or touch aversion. A child might not be able to respond during a massage. So, pay attention to their reaction. If they are not pulling away, you should know that he or she is making progress.
One should be careful in terms of facial massage. Sudden contact might scare the child and he may respond negatively. First, ensure that the child is comfortable with the touch and then encourage them to participate.
Creating Rhythm via Songs
Autistic children are more likely to respond to music than speech. Studies have shown that they are quicker at recalling music than words. They can relate and link to the repetitive melody. This makes them more responsive. The repetition of tune and words creates a rhythm that is easier for children to remember.
Music gives rhythm to children who depict it in their speech as well and communicate sometimes in a sing-song voice. Due to this, their cognitive ability is increased so they can structure better sentences.
After a diagnosis of autism, speech therapists examine the child’s needs so they can enjoy the best care and quality of life. They give them electronic talkers and teach them to type and sign as well. Lip and facial exercises are taught to boost oral motor function. The improved movement of the lips, tongue, and jaw makes talking easier.
In a nutshell, autistic children have trouble communicating. But this is not permanent. They can learn and improve their communication skills with specific speech therapy techniques. If you or any of your loved ones have autistic children, they can greatly benefit from the expert and experienced therapists at Camali Clinic who can improve speech and quality of life.